Check The Tape – Penn State October 2, 2012
This is a lot harder than it looks.
Not the screencaps – that’s fairly easy. And not even the tape watching – it’s difficult, but I’ve always had this morbid curiosity while watching Illini game tape. Somehow, figuring out exactly what went wrong makes me feel better.
The difficult part is the research. I go to look something up – some statistic or something – and I have to see that we’re the only team in the Big Ten with three losses. And just seeing that gives me this visceral reaction where I feel like my 10th grade girlfriend just stood me up without calling again. (I took her back. Then she did it again. This would become familiar feeling for me.)
So I can get through the film. I’ve already watched the game, so it’s just revisiting something I already know. But the research always reveals some awful statistic that reminds me I’ll be staying home for the holidays. And that’s still tough to stomach.
OK, to the tape. I Tweeted a preview of this CTT on Saturday at the game. That’s right, I was able to tweet from within Memorial Stadium. I’m still giddy. Next game I’m going to check ALL THE STATS.
Here’s my tweet:
Your Check The Tape sneak peek for this week: Penn State’s line on their QB sneak, and then our line on our QB sneak. #SNEAKpeak
— A Lion Eye (@ALionEye) September 29, 2012
And here’s the SNEAK peek. GET IT?
Easy peasy. First down Penn State. Also note our defense here. As you’ll see in a second, Penn State comes forward on ours, expecting the sneak. We’re in our base defense. Should we have anticipated the sneak? Their personnel package didn’t really say it, so it would be a tough read. But if I’m Tim Banks, I have my linebackers forward against Penn State on a short yardage play like this.
OK, now it’s our turn.
Remember the Oklahoma Drill? Where two players go one on one and the coaches go crazy and scream things like “this is what wins football games”? Well, this is what wins football games. We don’t get any surge, so we don’t get to keep the ball. Seriously, scroll back up to the Penn State pics, and then scroll back down to this pic.
Well, we almost got to keep the ball. We only needed half a yard, and Nate did stretch the ball as far as he could. In fact, here’s the linesman coming in and putting his foot down to mark the spot right at the edge of the 27 yard line hash mark. After conferring with the other linesman, he places the ball about a foot inside this spot:
This is the part where my friend Phil will text me and give me the scoop on how two linesmen make this call. And how they likely confer with each other and sometimes split the difference, and why this linesman didn’t place the ball where he ran in and placed his foot. But I will likely dismiss that logic with a “meh” and an old man hand and continue on my path of “that first down could have changed the momentum of the game”.
And then I realize we lost 35-7 and JohnL myself.
And then I’d check more tape and watch the Penn State defensive line just continue to dominate our young offensive linemen. Here’s the opening drive of the third quarter. Three straight plays showing how Penn State’s defensive line dictated everything.
So we go back to the air, but we don’t even get a chance to go back to the air. Both defensive tackles bulldoze our linemen, a cornerback blitzes untouched, and Nate doesn’t even have a chance to get to his hot read (Donovonn Young, just now getting to the flat and turning around). Look at how far this pocket collapsed. And we’re barely two seconds after the snap here:
And on and on and on and on. Again, I feel for these offensive linemen. I really do. At a program that has recruited and built depth, these players would still be on the second string, learning the offense, getting stronger, learning the system, getting spot game experience as underclassmen and then starting as upperclassmen. Instead, we’re relying on mostly sophomores (Cvijanovic, Hill, Heitz) and a freshman (Karras). And they’re having to learn on the job.
You know, maybe Penn State has some more linemen we can have. My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Tim Beckman hanging around outside the Lasch Building…